Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination

By Stuart Oskamp | Go to book overview

Preface

Stop and think for a moment about examples of prejudice in our current world: "Ethnic cleansing" in the former Yugoslavia. Tribal genocide between Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda. Cold-blooded killings of Blacks in the rural United States. Murders of gays or foreigners in U.S. cities. Hostility toward immigrants and systematic campaigns to deny them housing, education, or medical care--let alone equal treatment. Religious persecution. Gender and ethnic bias in employment, education, and the legal system. The prevalence and severity of these evils shows how dramatically and destructively they affect people's lives and corrupt our society.

Finding ways to reduce prejudice and discrimination is the central issue in attacking racism in our society. Yet this book is almost unique among scientific volumes in being focused on that goal.

As far back as the 1920s, prejudice has been a major topic of study in the social sciences. In fact, it is one of the most-studied areas in all of psychology and sociology. However, most of the research has been aimed at describing the nature of prejudice and understanding its causes, and also, to some extent, at documenting its consequences in people's lives. Probably almost all the researchers wanted to attack prejudice and destroy its pernicious effects, but few of them have concentrated their research energies on the key question of how to reduce prejudice and create a society where equality and social justice are the norm instead of the exception.

This book is different. It combines careful analysis of theories about how to reduce prejudice and discrimination with cutting-edge empirical research on that applied topic, conducted both in controlled laboratory situations and in real-world social settings. The authors of its chapters are some of the best known and most highly regarded researchers in the world on topics related to prejudice, and here they have focused their attention specifically on the question of how to combat and reduce it. Thus, this book is an important companion to other scientific vol-

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